State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets the press

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People's Daily: Can you share with us the latest progress in the implementation of the Global Development Initiative (GDI)?

Wang Yi: COVID-19 has had a serious impact on the global development process. Developing countries, in particular, are taking the brunt. It is against this backdrop that President Xi Jinping proposed the GDI at the UN, calling on all countries to focus on development, pool their efforts and meet challenges together.

The centerpiece of the GDI is to put people front and center. Its primary goal is to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Highly responsive to the needs of various parties, the GDI has soon been warmly received and supported by the UN and nearly 100 countries. In January, representatives from over 100 countries and more than 20 international organizations attended the launch of the Group of Friends of the GDI at the UN headquarters in New York, building greater international consensus on implementing the GDI.

China believes that good development is sustainable and true development is development for all. China will work with all parties in four areas to implement the GDI step by step:

First, forging synergy in priority areas. We will focus on the most pressing concerns of developing countries and advance practical cooperation in such areas as poverty reduction, food security, economic recovery, employment training, education, health and green development, so that all 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be met by 2030 as scheduled.

Second, responding to the needs of all countries. We will follow the spirit of open and inclusive partnership and the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We welcome the participation of all parties in flexible ways in light of their needs and strengths.

Third, partnering with cooperation mechanisms. We will work with all interested international and regional organizations and especially the UN system to seek complementarity with the development processes of small island developing states, landlocked developing countries, and least developed countries. This way, we could give play to the respective strengths of various parties and forge a global synergy.

Fourth, reaching out to partners of all sectors. We value the role of the private sector, NGOs, experts, think tanks and the media in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We welcome the recommendation and participation of all parties.

In short, the GDI is another major initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping after the BRI. It is another clarion call to mobilize global development cooperation, and another endorsement of putting people front and center as a core concept of human rights. The GDI has drawn up a road map for narrowing the North-South gap and addressing development imbalance, and given a boost to the 2030 Agenda. China will work with all countries to pursue and follow through on the GDI, ensuring that no country or individual is left behind and no aspiration is overlooked, and to jointly build a global community of development.

Channel News Asia: China and ASEAN marked 30 years of dialogue relations in 2021. How does China plan to deepen its relationship with ASEAN?

Wang Yi: Thirty years ago, China and ASEAN established dialogue relations, leading the way for cooperation in the region. Thirty years on, China and ASEAN have entered into a comprehensive strategic partnership, setting a prime example of good-neighborliness and friendship. Over the past three decades, China and ASEAN have embraced the trend of the times, enjoyed geographic proximity and shared cultural affinity, found a broad path of good-neighborliness and win-win cooperation, and established a model of most vibrant and promising regional cooperation.

The China-ASEAN relations have no limits and are sure to grow even closer. Going forward, China will work with ASEAN countries to keep in mind our original aspiration of maintaining stability and tranquility, fulfill our shared mission of common development, and uphold the principle of mutual understanding, accommodation, help and support between good neighbors. China-ASEAN relations will speed ahead like trains on the China-Laos railway. The two sides will make new progress in building a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future and bring greater benefits to the people of both sides.

China and ASEAN must be forerunners in international cooperation against COVID-19. We will deepen cooperation on joint production of vaccines and research and development of key drugs to build an unbreakable "health shield". We will also ensure the smooth operation of the "fast track" and "green lane" for the movement of people and goods to keep all people in the region safe and sound.

China and ASEAN must be pacesetters in regional cooperation. We will move toward comprehensive and effective implementation of RCEP and launch a new round of upgrade of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area as soon as possible. We will expand cooperation in new areas including blue, green and digital economies and on the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor to set new benchmarks for regional cooperation.

China and ASEAN must be defenders of stability in the Asia-Pacific. Peace, stability and prosperity are the common aspiration of regional countries. The Asia-Pacific should not be a chessboard for major-power rivalry. ASEAN countries are not chess pieces in a geopolitical contest, but are important chess players who will help promote regional development and prosperity. China will continue to view ASEAN as a high priority in its external relations. We will firmly uphold the ASEAN-centered regional cooperation architecture and the status of Southeast Asia as a nuclear-weapon-free zone, safeguard regional peace and stability, support the ASEAN way in the mediation of regional hot-spots, and oppose any attempt to revive opposing blocs or stoke division and confrontation in the region.

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